‘I only wanted to see you…
Bathing in the purple rain’
It’s the refrain that gets me. The perpetual guitar refrain, the chord sequences, repeated over and over. I barely listen to the lyrics tbh.
I was well aware Beth would periodically plunder my CD collection.
It was either via a candid ‘Can I borrow this?’, usually when I was in the room at the same time, or more often when I’d find a disc missing, (as a former meticulous CD collector, I instinctively knew when one of my many was astray) or when I wanted to listen to something and she’d fess up and say ‘ah, yes, think that’s in my room…’.
She was a squirreler of music, a hoarder of tunes. She’d hunt and gather from multiple sources, illegal download, dad’s CD collection, whatever. Decades didn’t define her collection, neither did musical genre. She liked what she liked, and she assembled and compiled it so.
For sure, I knew she listened to Prince and I knew she had a think for 80’s power ballads. But then, Before, it wasn’t like the tune was a thing for me and her (not like seeing Mr Hudson together many times or missing out on The XX in Leeds, because it was a Sunday night and I couldn’t be arsed). It didn’t resonate or resound. It wasn’t a thing, Before.
But now, After, for sure it is.
Today, I’m in the gym, where I’ve not been for a while. In the middle of my ridiculous routine, over the communal speakers, the 80s playlist shifts to Purple Rain. It’s background music at first, and then, I dunno, a couple of minutes in, maybe more, an icy wave smacks my face. I have to stop what I’m doing, because I’m shuddering. I rest my hands on my knees and I close my eyes and well up. Refrain, refrain. It’s the refrain.
Maybe it’s the sadness and some kind of hope, combined. The Purple Rain of some adorable lost love. The bitter sweet nuance of something intimate, deeply human, that’s inexplicably gone awry and set adrift.
You know, the funniest thing is, when you’ve lost 2 kids, you have to do this all over again, for the other. There’s no ‘2 for the price of 1’.
But this one’s for you Bethy. I miss you so much.